A new survey of fashion retailers finds that Nordstrom, despite its higher price points, is American’s favorite fashion retailer, booting Kohl’s into the No. 2 spot. The survey, from Market Force Information, found that the Seattle-based Nordstrom topped the competition in six of the eight measured attributes, including customer service, atmosphere, no-hassle returns and designer options.
“We were a little surprised by this year’s results,” Janet Eden-Harris, CMO of Market Force, tells Marketing Daily. “And it’s not that Kohl’s slipped; it’s that Nordstrom improved.” Women, who accounted for about 60 pct of the 4,000-person sample, were slightly more apt to describe themselves as fashionista this year (21% vs 15%). “And that’s in line with what we’re seeing in the economy. Women are a little more willing to go shopping, and a little more likely to spend more.”
Both Kohl’s -- which had been ranked No. 1 in this survey three years running -- and Nordstrom are brands with a strong customer-centric approach, she says. Macy’s, Dillard’s and JCPenney round out the top five. Interestingly, despite widespread media-bashing and big sales declines, JCPenney’s rank overall didn’t move much, she says. But its scores in value did, landing it in eighth place, behind such brands as Old Navy and American Eagle outfitters.
The ranking is based on total votes, and then calculated against the number of each retailers’ locations, for weighted results.
Other high-scoring brands include Banana Republic (No. 2 in customer service category), American Eagle Outfitters, Ross, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. Ross won in the highest-value, and Kohl’s came in tops among loyalty programs.
Nordstrom scored highest for both business and eveningwear options, while Kohl’s came in first for casual and children’s clothing. (Macy’s was a far-behind second choice in each,)
It also turns out that in terms of winning long-term loyalty, a liberal return policy is the most important thing retailers can offer shoppers.
The survey also validated how hard it is for brands to gain word-of-mouth endorsements. It asked customers if they had shopped at a new retail brand in the past 90 days and if so, how satisfied they were. About 40% said they were very satisfied, scoring the new brand a five out of five. Of those, 93% say they were likely to recommend it to a chain.
But for those who scored a new store a four out five, only 14% were willing to make such a recommendation. “Retailers spend lots of money on advertising and promotion,” she says. “But the most important thing, once they are in the store, is to delight them and provide operational excellence. For stores that do, shoppers will come back more often, buy more, and tell their friends about you.”